What the shell? Unexploded artillery found in Raynes Park

A Raynes Park resident was left mortar-fied to discover an unexploded artillery shell in her back garden on Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Police rushed to Dupont Road, Raynes Park, at around 2pm on 30 September after a suspected bomb was unearthed in Charmaine Jacques’ garden.

Jacques had builders digging foundations in her garden, when they called her to explain what they had found.

She said: “I just went: ‘You’re joking!’ You’re just sort of standing there thinking, I know it hasn’t gone off, but what if the action of moving it triggered something?

Jacques has lived at the house on Dupont Road with her partner, Martin Smith, for over 15 years.

The builder, Dean Martin, 45, was digging footings for an extension when his team noticed a metal lump sticking out of the earth about a metre below where he and his colleagues had been standing.

SHOCK: The site where the bomb was found

He said: “We didn’t think much of it to be fair, and I was standing on it! Standing on the bomb. It’s not funny at all. It was covered in so much debris, and I noticed the copper tip on it, and I thought: wow.

“I picked it up and knew it was a bomb. The police said later ‘what were you doing!?’, but I dunno, it just came natural.

“We put it out the way towards the back of the garden and called the police.

“I was sweating anyway from working but then I was doubled in sweat.”

Ms Jacques added: “I literally came in and started to make myself a cup of tea when the police arrived, within minutes.”

The police cordoned off the area and evacuated residents, before a specialist bomb disposal unit from the Ministry of Defence arrived.

Specialist officers later identified the bomb, which was roughly a foot long, as an unexploded artillery shell and took it away to be made safe and disposed of.

Raynes Park was heavily bombed during World War II, and the newer buildings at the north end of Dupont Road evidence the scale of the damages. 

It is unknown if the unexploded shell was in fact dropped by German planes, as British anti-aircraft artillery is estimated to have killed thousands of Brits when bombs failed to explode in the air. 

The police cordon was removed and residents were allowed back into their homes by around 5pm. 

Neighbour Christa Roberts said: “It’s the most excitement we’ve had in a long time. So much for German efficiency.”

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